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Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category

Are you still able to get fresh green beans at your local farmers’ markets? Sometimes the ones in the grocery stores are okay, but the best ones are so fresh you can practically see the dew still on them. Here’s an easy and extremely tasty recipe to take advantage of the last of nature’s green bean bounty.

The only special things you need are bacon, some pearl onions, dried thyme and cider vinegar. These aren’t really “special”, but not everyone craves bacon and vinegar like we do. After all, you can’t have too much bacon – my brother-in-law’s personal motto. For the pearl onions, you have a choice of three. Fresh whole pearl onions (which you will need to parboil and peel), frozen pearl onions (which you will need to thaw), or a jar of cocktail onions (which you will need to drain).  

I try to keep a jar of these handy as well as a bag of frozen ones. Personally, I dislike peeling the tiny ones. I know all the tips. But it’s still sometimes a sticking point when I’m deciding whether or not to try a specific recipe that calls for fresh ones. Anyway, the cocktail onions have a special tang which adds to this dish so if that floats your boat, use them.

SAUTEED GREEN BEANS WITH ONIONS AND BACON

1 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved

4 slices bacon

1 bottle cocktail onions, drained, or a cup or so of thawed frozen pearl onions

2 t. sugar

1/2  t. thyme

1-2 T. cider vinegar

3/4 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper


1. Cook beans four minutes in boiling water. Rinse with cold water. Drain and pat dry.

2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet until crisp. Remove from pan. Keep two tablespoons of drippins in the skillet and discard the rest. Crumble bacon and set aside.

3. Add onions to pan. Cook three minutes if using previously frozen onions, one minute to warm the bottled ones. Add sugar and thyme. Cook three minutes, till golden brown.

4. Add the green beans to the pan. Cook two minutes, stirring. Add vinegar and salt and pepper. Toss well to coat.

5. Add bacon bits and serve.


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picture.jpgWe’ve made it through four letters of the alphabet, the ABC’s of Vegetables. We’ve looked at artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, and cabbage and lastly, dandelion greens. I hope you’ve found at least one recipe that appeals to your culinary adventurous spirit. In doing my research, I have. I found asparagus and cabbage recipes that I plan to fix in the near future. I have them in the stack of about 2,356 other new recipes that I plan to fix in the near future.

I have realized that if I prepare a new recipe for dinner each day, or even three new recipes, I will never use all the recipes I have clipped or bookmarked or saved on one of our three computers. It is a little discouraging, especially since I keep on looking and saving more. I cancelled subscriptions to four of the cooking magazines I was receiving. Now I’m down to four and I plan to cancel one that I used to really enjoy.

Cook’s Illustrated has become tiresome. I have decided that the recipes can be too complex, not difficult mind you, just too complicated to be worth the slight increase in their tasters’ enjoyment. I have tried a lot of the recipes “perfected” by the magazine’s staff and just can’t say that they are often worth the extra step(s) recommended. The last issue comes with an invitation to subscribe to their online site for more recipes and tips. Sorry, but if I’m already paying for the magazine, the last thing I want to see at the bottom of an article is the suggestion to join the online version to see more information about the article. So, I’m going to cancel it. That will reduce my clipped recipe increases by a few per month.

Part of the problem is organizational. If I want to fix a chicken breast recipe for example, I have too many places to look. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. Often I will just say “Heck with it. I’ll just fix a quick saute and deglaze the pan.” Of course, then I have to decide with what to deglaze the pan. Wine? Vinegar? Do I add herbs? Fresh? Dried? Do I need to shop for ingredients?

Every year I declare my resolution to go through my recipes (as if I could do it in a year!) and weed them of repeats, ones that no longer are appealing, or ones that are just too unhealthful for me. You know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. I must be near pergatory by now.

Anyway, tonight we are having chicken. Maybe I’ll find a new recipe to fix. I have a new cookbook to look through.

Morgana

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I thought it might be interesting to explore the Wonderful World of Vegetables in a series of posts featuring a vegetable for each letter of the alphabet.  So, when I have to particular food topic to discuss, or great recipe to share, I will pick a vegetable in alphabetical order.  There may be a letter for which I will talk about more than one vegetable.  We’ll just have to wait and see how this turns out. 

So much nutritional advice recommends the addition of ever more vegetables to our daily diet.  If the vegetarians have any sway, we will soon be implored to have a 100% diet of vegetables.  I can understand someone’s impetus to become a vegetarian, for ethical, conservation, religious, or health reasons.  I just wish that the moral superiority that some vegetarians assume would be replaced with my “a chacun son gout” (to each his own) philosophy.

Anyway, the USDA provides nutritional recommendations in their periodically updated food pyramid. It is an interactive site, and after one provides the required age, sex, weight, height, and activity levels, a personal food pyramid is generated with specific amounts of each category detailed.  Your tax dollars at work.

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The orange slice represents the grains portion, green for vegetables, red for fruit, yellow for oil, blue for milk, and purple for meat.  My personal USDA recommended pyramid suggests 7 oz. grains, 3 c. vegetables, 2 c. fruit, 6 t. oil, 3 c. milk, and 6 oz. meat per day.   

The next “Vegetable” posting will be the first in the series, featuring the letter “A”, in green instead of scarlet.  I think it will be about artichokes.  That is a vegetable that I eat only in its cooked, peeled, de-choked, and preferably marinated state.  It was a vegetable never served in my childhood; I have never cooked an artichoke; I did get a sample when my sister prepared one once and really can’t remember much about it.  Tomorrow, I will provide a recipe that uses artichoke hearts that is one of my favorites and we will explore other uses.  Who knows?Maybe I’ll become adventurous and actually prepare a fresh one. 

Stay tuned and happy dining!

Morgana

PS.  If you have a vegetable recipe request, send me a comment and I will try to provide one for you.

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